April 14, 2008

Antarctic Sun Article

There's a great little article that has been posted up on the Antarctic Sun website about husband Anthony and his time-lapse photography.


Ice People

In other Antarctic-themed media news...

The movie, "Ice People" is going to premier in San Francisco at the end of this month at the "SFIFF" (San Francisco International Film Festival). A couple of years ago, movie-maker Anne Aghion and her film crew traveled to McMurdo Station during the Winfly period in August with the intent to collect footage for this film. For something different, Anthony brought them with him on a traverse to Black Island, the telecommunications ground station for McMurdo. It's about 60 miles away across the ice shelf. The original intent was to be there only a couple days, but some big weather came through and they were stuck there a bit longer. They filmed lots of stuff there, including some of Anthony and apparently he does appear in the film briefly.

So I am planning on traveling up to SF for the premier -- going to catch up with a very good friend of mine from high school that I haven't seen in over 20 years -- should be a good time!

Click HERE to see a trailer and get more information.

Tomorrow I will be on a plane to the U.S. for a long-awaited visit with family and friends. It might be a spell before I can post again (hopefully not longer than a week). So as Bugs Bunny would say, "Bon Voyagee!"

April 11, 2008

Second Batch O Beads

Here's a few of the beads I recently made this week. This is called a 'jellyfish' design. I guess I can see why. It is made by wrapping a black molten bead in a thin sheet of sterling silver, then burning off the silver in the torch. The spots are made by a combination of silver and ivory glass.

These next beads I'm quite proud of because it shows how much more accurate I am getting at placing the dots (especially the black & white bead).

I tried my hand at a tiger bead. Lovely!

Actually, done a little better, the bead should actually look like it has tiger stripes.

A few more...

Just another reminder about Blogarithm. If you scroll to the very bottom of this page, there's a Blogarithm link. If you sign up you can get reminders about when I make a new post to this blog.

Have a great weekend!

April 09, 2008

Getting to Know Kay

First things first.

I finished the sodalite ring. I had my last beginning silversmithing class this week at the Art Centre. It's hard to believe how fast 10 weeks have gone by. I learned so much.

Remember this from a few weeks back...

This is what it looks like now.

Beautiful. I am proud of this ring, it fits beautifully and is very comfortable to wear.

I met a wonderful lady this week, Kay. She lives here in Christchurch and is another lampwork artist who I was put in touch with by Lisa, the woman who taught me up in Auckland. Kay has her own torch and set-up in her garage. I spent several hours the last couple of days at her house, making beads, having great chats and getting to know her.

Here is Kay at her torch.

I will be picking up my finished beads from her house today, so I'll photograph and post them next time.

Kay's partner, Bob, happens to be an American from New York AND an ex-Antarctican. He is a Vietnam veteran who was one of the Navy Seabees who traveled the globe 'building stuff' in different places in the world. McMurdo Station, Antarctica was one of those places. He spent about eight seasons down there starting in the early 70's, some with the military and some as a civilian.

Bob and I had lots to talk about (as you can imagine), me having also spent the better part of 10 years there as well. To Kay and her friend from the UK, Anna, it must have seemed that we were speaking another language at times, what with all the acronyms and Antarctic slang we were throwing back and forth.

Bob showed me his jacket with some really cool patches on it.

The USAP patch on the upper left is of particular interest. The USAP patch of today is still basically the same design, but the wording is different...and check out the stitching on the old one. No NSF on the old patch either.

Also of particularly notable historic value is the Seabees patch.

Is this just the coolest patch EVER?

Bob calls himself an "SOAE." Super Old Antarctic Explorer. Great meeting you Kay, Bob and Anna. What a small world.

Note by all the sweaters that it is getting a bit chillier in Christchurch. Daylight savings time has ended and winter is on it's way.

April 07, 2008

Without Further Ado...SPAM Haikus

Blue can of steel
What promise do you hold?
Salt flesh so ripe

Clad in metal, proud
No mere salt-curing for you
You are not bacon

Twist, pull the sharp lid
Jerks and cuts me deeply
Spam, aah, my poultice

And who dares mock SPAM?
You? you? you are not worthy
Of one rich pink fleck

Pink tender morsel
Glistening with salty gel
What the hell is it?

Ears, snouts and innards
A homogeneous mass
Pass another slice

Pink beefy temptress
I can no longer remain

April 06, 2008

Color Crack

I found some websites today that are like crack to a color-lover like me. Or colour-lover if you're from New Zealand or the UK or whatnot.

First one...the most fun is www.colourlovers.com. You can create your own favorite colors, palettes and patterns, name them and search through thousands of other people's color creations. You can even upload photos of your color inspiration. What fun. I am username 'isitgreen' and if you do a search for 'Rotorua,' my first color palette comes up. I need someone to write me a 'love note' on that website so I can get little red hearts next to my entry ;) hint, hint.

A groovy wave pattern made from 'Rotorua.' That line that looks black is actually a dark chocolate brown...leaning towards the greyish side. And that yellow...has just the slightest tinge of green.

More fun sites:

Try this Random Stripe Generator for knitters. You choose the colors, select the different row widths you want (no limit) and click the generate button. To get another random stripe, keep clicking the refresh button until you get one you want. It even gives you the pattern in text!


And the Color Scheme Generator. Keep playing with it...you figure it out pretty fast.

These are some great tools for getting color inspiration!

Have fun!

April 05, 2008

The Latest Scrapbook Pages

These are the last three scrapbooking pages I have finished on the wedding album. I think I'm getting a little better at it! Like anything, the more you do it, the better you get. This vows page I just finished today.

Those cards are the actual cards Anthony and I held at the wedding.

It's been fun reminiscing on that special day as I'm going along. And it's so rewarding to be putting the photos in a beautiful format that Anthony and I can enjoy for the rest of our lives.

In each class, we go over a different aspect of scrapbooking. In this class we used ribbon to wrap a shape...in this case, a heart.

Now, what you might find interesting is that each of these pages are a really different color scheme from one another. Why, you might ask, don't you just make everything all the same color if it's all the same book?

Well, this is the fascinating part of scrapbooking. The first thing you do -- and the secret to harmonious-looking layouts -- is choosing paper colors that are found in the photos you are using for that page.

Orange and blue? Might be an unusual choice for a wedding theme, but I think it looks pretty nice in this layout. If you look at the photos, I am wearing an orange top and almost everyone is wearing blue jeans in various shades. So it works.

I've written a few words on each page...reflections and remembrances from the day.

The things I like about the toast layout is that the pattern of the paper in the center circle seems to echo the shape of the twinkle lights in the photo. And the brown dots in the upper right seems to denote bubbles...like in champagne! Each line of text makes up the toast that the station manager, Eric Hobday, gave us.

I guess the fire of our love is pretty hot, because B-15 melted! (B-15 is that big honkin' piece of ice the size of Jamaica that broke off the ice shelf in Antarctica a few years back).

Okay, one more. This is the finished Wedding Quilt page.

I this one, I made letters and hearts from fabric to kind of go with the quilt idea.

And in other news...

I finished another granny square hat.

I am loving the little braid around the crown. I'm trying to decide if it needs a tassle on top.

April 04, 2008

Green Bike, Green Thoughts

Here's my new mountain bike. It's a Kona brand, apparently a Canadian company. I don't know about all the other bits and pieces of the bike, but I do know it is an awesome ride. The shock absorbing system takes out anything the road throws at me...and the gear shifting is smooth and easy. A lot has changed since the last time I rode a bike (which is about 10 years ago!). It feels solid, the knobby wheels whizzing on the road and it has that wonderful clicking sound that a bike makes when you aren't pedaling.

And it's GREEN. *sigh* Can life get any better?

There's nothing like the feeling of the wind in my face, the world rushing by (as well as some very gargantuan red buses) and feeling good about going somewhere under my own power.

I bought a helmet to protect my coconut. It has a nice girlie flower pattern on it and the white matches the bike frame (you know, I hate to admit I'm one of those people can only find contentment in life when things match, but I guess I am! Color-coordination is Zen!)

I got on my green chariot today for a spin to the store to pick up some milk and an avocado (the necessities of life)... but got about a 1/2 mile down the road and had to turn back. To be honest, the bones in my backside have not gotten used to this new activity, even despite the gel seat cover, impressive suspension, and generous padding of my own in that region ... it's the only thing holding me back from getting out there on my new wheels. I need to investigate intensive padding options or maybe I'll just get used to it.

Speaking of thinking green, if you have the time, please visit this website:


and sign the petition for change to stop and reverse global warming. It only takes a second. And please, spread the word.

April 02, 2008

Lamp-Working For The Weekend

My first beads. Lookie what I made!

If you are an 80's music fan and remember Loverboy, then the title of this blog entry title might actually be kind of clever.

It's been a while since I blogged, but I was away in Auckland doing some really fun stuff this last weekend. I took my very first lesson in "lampworking"...that is making beads from molten glass using a torch.

I took a class from Lisa-Jane Harvey of 'Born to Bead.' She has been creating beads and jewelery for about 3 years, but has just opened a beautiful studio perfect for teaching.

She and her husband are originally from South Africa. On the way from the airport, she stopped by a South African butchery and we picked up some Biltong, a spiced, dried meat and Droewors, a similar dried meat snack formed in long ropes...similar to beef jerky, but made using a different process and spiced uniquely. Really tasty!

In no time, I was at the studio and taking a look around. The beads are made from glass rods in a luscious array of colors. Ooooo, pretty!

This is me on the first day of the class getting used to working with the torch. It's an interesting mix of fear and coordination. The flame is extremely hot (well, it melts glass after all) and so there is a natural fear of getting burned.

Then with one hand you have to continually rotate the 'mandrel,' the metal rod that you make the bead on. It has to be rotated back and forth, at least 360 degrees, and perfectly horizontal (or the beads go lopsided). With the other hand, you manipulate the glass rod in the flame which wants to melt and flow away from you. See the white hot blob of glass on the end of the blue rod.

Now I'm not trying to make some sort of retro-uber-geek statement with my outfit here, but I had to wear these special UV-blocking safety glasses when working with the flame.

Once we got the hang of making a basic bead shape, Lisa taught us how to make different types of beads...ones with spots, little nubs called dots, spirals, and how to trap a bubble of air inside a spot (far right bead in both photos has a tiny bubble in the center of the spot).

Then we made a rectangular free-form bead. I didn't intend it, but this one just looks Antarctic to me. I see Ob Hill or Mt. Discovery at the top with clouds in front and some ice and stuff on the bottom.

Then we learned how to use silver leaf in beads, giving it a nice sparkle.

This one also has some silver in it. I particularly like the way the blue seems to glow on this bead.

The class was 2 days long, but I stayed for an extra day to get some individual tutoring on using dichroic glass on beads. For those that don't know what dichroic glass is, go here.

Dichroic glass is a bit challenging to work with. You can't put it directly in the flame and have to be careful not to overheat it. It has to be 'encased' in clear glass (in other words has a layer of clear glass over the top) to protect it. As a beginner, I had a tough time with it and after ruining three beads, I decided to stick with the basics, as least for now.

But I did manage to get one decent dichroic bead. I think it's lovely!

A few more lovelies...

The day of my flight, we had some time so Lisa took me into the city of Auckland. We had lunch at a terrific Italian place where every dish was $12, then we had some amazing gelato for dessert, then and took the ferry to Devonport for a bit of a look around at some shops.

It was a lovely weekend! I can't say for sure if I am hooked on lampwork, but I certainly want to do some more of it and we'll see where that leads.